A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court alleges that negligent security allowed a heavily armed gunman to enter the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28, killing three people and injuring at least 14 others.
The lawsuit against the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association, various security companies and other unnamed defendants was filed by the Scarlett Law Group of San Francisco on behalf of five victims who suffered multiple life-threatening gunshot wounds. More plaintiffs could join the suit, said lawyer Randall H. Scarlett, who said it was too soon to identify a dollar amount for a damage claim.
The festival association doesn’t have very deep pockets: Its Internal Revenue Service Form 990 listed $868,216 in net assets for 2018, down from $1,282,191 in net assets for 2017. Scarlett said medical bills for just two of the plaintiffs have already totaled more than $2 million each, with treatment continuing.
The lawsuit claims that the association, a Gilroy-based non-profit, could have done numerous things to make the festival safer, including maintaining a secure perimeter, monitoring that perimeter and other vulnerable areas with trained guards and properly staffing security personnel.
“Reasonable steps could have avoided this completely,” Scarlett told a crowded press conference while announcing the suit earlier this week.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit do not at this point include the families of the three people killed by the gunman: Stephen Romero, Keyla Salazar and Trevor Irby.
The Garlic Festival Association later Tuesday released the following statement: “The lawsuit filed today stemming from a horrific act of domestic terrorism, is not unexpected, and we will respond through the appropriate legal channels. As a non-profit organization, we must remain focused on our mission: fundraising for the entire community of Gilroy and the more than 150 charities that rely on us.”